There is a widespread perception that, in terms of web‐technology, XML is going to be the ‘next big thing’. Given the amount of comment that it has generated, it seems to be on its way to achieving that status. But how much of the praise should be taken at face value, and how much of the hype is credible? In the following article we examine some of the claims made about the importance of XML and consider how far the enthusiasm about it can be justified. Will XML cause a revolution that will change the way that everyone uses the Internet, whether as searchers or data creators? Or is it a tool for certain types of e‐commerce and large‐scale markup, which may not have a significant impact on the majority of web users?
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